Just when it looked like things were really getting ugly in the lawsuit between Walking Dead co-creators Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore, the pair announced a settlement in the case. So who came out on top?
Sadly, we don't know. Kirkman and Moore declined to release details of the resolution, but the statement they put out instead does seem to indicate that they at least got through the ordeal without killing each other.
"Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore are pleased to jointly announce that they have reached an amicable agreement in their respective lawsuits and all parties have settled the entire matter to everyone's mutual satisfaction. Neither side will be discussing any details but will instead happily and productively spend their time focused on their own work and move on in their lives."
To recap, Moore, who served as artist on the first six issues of the hit zombie comic, sued Kirkman in a California court back in February, claiming that he had not been paid all the royalties he was entitled to for the series, and the TV series it's based on. According to Moore, he and Kirkman, childhood friends who burst onto the comics scene together with the cult hit Battle Pope in 2000, created the concept for The Walking Dead together, a claim the original solicitations for the series' first issues back up.
Moore says that after he was replaced by artist Charlie Adlard (who remains on the book as of issue #102), Kirkman and his representatives talked him into signing over his stake in the comic, in part because Kirkman believed the TV series would sell better if he was listed as the sole creator. Moore agreed, but claimed that Kirkman promised him 60 percent of "net proceeds" from the comic and 20 percent of "motion picture net proceeds," along with a financial stake in any other projects spinning off from the comic.
That sounds fair, but Moore claimed that he barely saw any revenue from The Walking Dead after he left the comic, and since he never saw any paperwork with concrete information on how much the property was earning, he could never be sure how much money he was actually losing. The main point of the initial lawsuit was to get that information, so Moore could determine if he was actually being cheated out of money by Kirkman, and if so, how much.
Kirkman fired back with a countersuit claiming that he'd actually paid his former partner more money than he'd been entitled to under their initial agreement, and demanded some of it back while also claiming that he was owed damages because Moore's lawsuit violated the confidentiality of their agreement. Then the war of words began. Moore called Kirkman a "proud liar and fraudster who freely admits he has no qualm misrepresenting material facts in order to consummate business transactions," while Kirkman branded the whole lawsuit "ridiculous."
Now, at last, the two have come to an agreement, though for how much money we can't say. But given that The Walking Dead is now a huge brand that continues to grow as we head into season three of the TV series, you can bet Moore got something for his trouble.